Moms in middle age: Often online and increasingly lonely

Pre-pandemic, conversations about loneliness often centered on men, with talk of a “loneliness epidemic.” But during lockdown, Generation X women, who range in age from 41 to 57 years old, reported the sharpest rise in loneliness, according to a survey of more than 1,000 adults conducted in the spring of 2020 by the Roots of Loneliness Project, a research organization. And the increase in social isolation reported by women living with children was also greatest among those from Gen X, according to an unpublished portion of the survey shared with The Wall Street Journal.

For women feeling burned out from holding family life and work together, social media has typically been the most convenient place to vent and seek connection. But going online has surfaced feelings of inadequacy and loneliness, many say…

Ms. Reinhardt has tried Facebook groups to find moms in similar life stages, but because she hasn’t found a group of in-person friends, she sometimes feels that she’s left on the sidelines. When she sees posts of women getting together for a girl’s night out or going on a trip, it stings. “I want that,” she said. “Sometimes I stop and ask myself: ‘What did I do wrong?’ ”

Social media can make it feel like everyone has a friend group, she added. “Some days I feel like I’m a teenager again, wondering, ‘Why can’t I find a group like that to fit into? Am I not funny enough? Am I too introverted?’ ”